Monthly Archives: October 2015

Porphyrins Run Rings Around Each Other


A pair of nanorings, one sitting inside the other, fit together like perfectly nested Russian dolls. The structure is not only strikingly beautiful but could offer a useful model for studying energy transfer within natural photosynthetic complexes. It also demonstrates how large nanorings can be built from components that self-assemble onto a smaller, template ring (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b07956).

“Energy migration between rings is quite a common theme in photosynthesis,” says Harry L. Anderson of the University of Oxford, whose team created the Russian doll complex. When purple bacteria harvest light, for example, energy cascades between rings of 9, 18, and 32 chlorophyll molecules that each bear a porphyrin group bound to a magnesium ion.

Anderson’s nanorings are a synthetic analog of these systems. Rest